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Bob-n-Along, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999

What would you consider the biggest event of the second millennium?

    You may consider this a strange topic for me to be using on February 21, but I have a few things to say about the end of 1999 ... the end of a century ... especially the end of a millennium.
    In past years during my experiences as a journalist  (whether as a newspaperman or in broadcasting ) when the end of the year approached, I'd take part in selecting the top news stories of that particular year. It was a challenge, because all too often there would be two, three or more events deserving of the top spot.
    Can you just imagine what it's going to be like as 1999 goes on? The top stories of the year will pale in comparison with the top stories of the 20th century ... which may pale in comparison with the big events of 1001-1999.
    Who knows, maybe there'll be an event this year that will fit in one of the two categories other than top story of 1999.
I suppose it would have to depend on whether one was considering the top events in the United States or in the world in general. I would be partial toward including occurrences around the globe, not just this nation, great as it is.
    Some might say that the assassination of John F. Kennedy in November 1963 would be in the top 10 of the past century. Maybe in the U.S., but probably not the world. But it would be my guess that both world wars would rank near the top. I'd also have to say the liberation of the state of Israel in 1948 would be right up there somewhere.
    History is difficult to judge, just as opinions are. Everyone likely has a different idea of landmark world events and how they rate. And, of course, it's much easier to remember the happenings of the past year and the past century than it is to recall  (much less rank) what happened a long, long time ago.
    That's why it's going to be tough for people of the 20th century, other than historians, to come up with a list of events between 1001 and, say, 1899.
    The discovery of America by Christopher Columbus? Highly doubtful. What does someone in Norway or Thailand care about that, other than for Norwegians to argue that it was not Columbus, but Leif Erikson who really discovered this continent first?
Get my drift?
    So, then, what could we think of that would begin to fill a sheet of paper from such a tremendous expanse of time? The Battle of Hastings in 1066? The Peloponessian War, maybe? Perhaps the Magna Carta? The formation of this new nation in 1776? Super Bowl III?
I    t's going to take some researching and then some serious comparison of what has really affected our world. I must admit that I'm a trifle stumped at what my suggestions would be. Hopefully later in the year I will have begun to formulate a list of the biggies of the second millennium.
    Who out there might have some ideas that might vie for a Top 20 list of world events between 1001 and 1999? If you do, send them along. I'd like to see them.
    Just remember, my challenge is for WORLD events, not those simply limited to the United States.

    I received a picture postcard a few days ago showing a photo of the world, bearing the inscription below: "Wish you were here!"

    An unemployed man was on the Internet one day. Suddenly there appeared on the screen of his computer, "You have been idle for a while ...
His response? "How do THEY know?
    It reminds me of when I've walked through corridors of hospitals and have seen the floor charts hanging on the wall. I'd start with the first floor, then the second, etc., etc., till I got to the top floor. Each time, the map would say, "You are HERE." How do THEY know?

A thought for the week by someone by the name of Laurence J. Peter, who said, "Heredity is what sets the parents of a teen-ager wondering about each other."
Bye for now. Another column Monday.



Exponent View, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999

Clarksburg's cops
deserve 12% raise

    How many times during the past couple of years have you read in this newspaper about Clarksburg police officers responding to dangerous, high-speed chases in our area? Too many times.
    How about domestic squabbles turned violent? Armed robberies? Drug busts? Murders? Too many times.
Granted, and thank God, our area isn't a criminal-infested, living Hell where it's not safe to walk the streets at night. But crime occurs, violent crime occurs.
    In Clarksburg, the first line of defense against criminals and crime is the city's police department. And whenever there is trouble, the residents of Clarksburg can count on the city police to respond, regardless of the hour, regardless of the risk. Clarksburg's police officers (like officers in every community) put their lives on the line for us seven days a week, 52 weeks a year.
    Unfortunately, the residents of Clarksburg and the leaders of their city government have not been as appreciative of their police department as they should have been over the years.
    Today, as you sip your coffee and read your paper, Clarksburg's police officers are out on the streets doing their jobs. But they're underpaid, ill-equipped and there are too few of them.
Consider the following facts:
-Clarksburg has cut staffing levels of its police department by about 25 percent in recent years.
-The department's equipment situation is so bad that some officers have brought computers from home into the office in order to handle the volume of paper work they generate while fighting crime.
-Clarksburg's officers are the lowest paid when compared with Bridgeport officers, sheriff's deputies and state troopers. A Clarksburg cop with nine years of experience earns a base salary of $23,880. A Bridgeport cop with the same experience earns $29,505. A deputy with the same experience earns $26,512. Big disparities.
    So, to our point -Clarksburg's policemen deserve big raises. And the city's residents deserve to have policemen protecting them who don't have to worry about paying the bills or thinking about where they can go to work part-time to supplement their income.
    The 12 percent raise requested last week by the new police union may, on the surface, seem excessive. But do the math. Twelve percent for a nine year veteran would bring them up to par with sheriff's deputies, but still well below what a Bridgeport officer with the same experience is making. A 12 percent raise for an officer making $23,880 would raise their base pay to $26,746.
    Is that excessive? We don't think so. Not for someone who is putting his life on the line for us every day.
    Think about it, then call your city councilman, the mayor and City Manager Percy Ashcraft. Tell them that Clarksburg's police officers deserve better. And tell them that they should not worry about giving policemen the same raises that policemen get to all other city workers- most other city workers aren't putting their lives on the line every day. The parity argument used by Ashcraft is a poor one.
    Clarksburg's council members must review spending priorities carefully, and cut other programs and departments where necessary, in order to give the city's policemen the support they deserve.



Telegram View, Sunday, Feb. 21, 1999

Lawmakers should ban same-sex marriages

    Most of us understand that government can't legislate morality. It can only try to control behavior that is harmful to individuals and to society.
    So some will question a ban on same-sex marriage that is part of legislation to rework West Virginia's state marriage law. Gay activists will say that same-sex marriages harm no one and to ban them would be an act of prejudice. But we think there is some sense to such a ban and support the legislation that will be introduced in the House of Delegates during the next few weeks.
    Delegate Steve Harrison, R-Kanawha, has introduced such legislation unsuccessfully in past years and speaks strongly in favor of it. This year it appears certain such legislation will make its way out of the House Judiciary Committee. If it is successful in the House and Senate then West Virginia will become the 30th state to define marriage as a union between a man and a woman. "Homosexuality is an immoral and unhealthy lifestyle," said Harrison. "It's not something our government should encourage or endorse."
    Harrison’s comments will certainly offend those in the gay community and some others. But it does boil down to the moral sensibilities of a lot of West Virginians who clearly oppose same-sex marriages.
    On what basis do we say this? The Charleston Daily Mail's West Virginia Poll a few years ago asked questions about homosexuality. Eight out of 10 persons polled agreed that homosexuals should keep their sexual preferences to themselves.     Does that mean West Virginians are prejudiced? No, because that same poll showed only three out of 10 West Virginians would limit or end a friendship if they found out or suspected that a friend was homosexual.
    The bottom line is that the majority of West Virginians are bound by Christian values and don't believe in homosexuality. However, West Virginians are a tolerant people and don't want to discriminate against anyone. They just ask that homosexuals don't flaunt their lifestyle in public.
    The proposed law would ban same-sex marriages but it does not ban same-sex relationships. It simply removes state endorsement of such relationships. The Legislature should support it.
Terry Horne
Telegram Editorial Board member



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Copyright Clarksburg Publishing Company 1999